Would the Upper Orwell Crossings have helped with the recent bridge closure?

Discussion in 'Upper Orwell Crossings' started by dan5, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

    Sold as a solution to relieve the A14 bottleneck - The Orwell Bridge, the Upper Orwell Crossings is seen by many in political circles as the solution for when the Orwell Bridge is closed.

    Well, on Wednesday 3rd January 2018, Storm Eleanor came and the Orwell Bridge was closed from 9pm the previous night as a safety precaution. This was only a morning rush hour closure (i.e. not all day including the evening rush hour), most lorries weren't booked in at the Port of Felixstowe due to high winds, not all children were back at school and not everyone has yet gone back to work after the Festive and New Year break.

    This image from Ipswich Star.

    Someones phone from Twitter.

    Nacton Junction was closed so Landseer Road didn't have such a load of vehicles it might have otherwise had.

    Rush hour over...

    This snapshot at 11:40 (pre-lunch rush).

    This snapshot at 12:15.

    This snapshot at 13:15.

    This snapshot at 13:50. 10 minutes before bridge reopens.

    This snapshot at 13:55. The A1214 completely gridlocked. Vernon Street, Hawes Street and Wherstead Road are completely gridlocked with blocked roundabouts.

    So based on real world traffic modelling would the Upper Orwell Crossings have actually coped with the closed Orwell Bridge?

    There is three main sources of traffic feeding along to Wherstead Road heading towards what would be the Upper Orwell Crossings - the A14 J56 Wherstead junction (traffic from A14 and A12), the A137 and B1456. At 08:19 Wherstead Road wasn't coping with this traffic (as expected) with roundabouts and traffic light junctions holding traffic back.

    So excluding Bridge Street and Star Lane gyratory... would this traffic have moved any quicker?

    What we do know about the Upper Orwell Crossings is it will be a single carriageway in either direction, minimal carriageway separation, and either end of the bridge will be either a roundabout or traffic light junction, with this the traffic cannot and will not flow like a non-obstructed road. Access onto and off the bridge will be like crossing the river by "small car ferry"; average speed 20 mph (if not bumper to bumper).

    We have to account that if the official diversion route isn't the A1214 from Copdock Interchange, the traffic gridlocking the A1214 will - by half - be also on the A14 east bound waiting to exit J56. So this is extra workload. I suggest half, as many would still use the bypass if not splitting using West End Road/Grafton Way/Bridge Street/Vernon Street to get to the bridge.

    What is very clear was the constant congestion on Wherstead Road since rush hour and just after the Orwell Bridge reopened. What isn't so clear is the opposite side... the road length between the anticipated west side of the bridge from J56, and the anticipated east side of the bridge to The Thrasher roundabout, being a very similar length. The Nacton Road/Landseer Road junction is a problem... however, the bigger worry is Ransomes Europark, Futura Park and Ravenswood at that end of the route with the opposite western side having very little in comparison especially if excluding what is south of the A14.

    My verdict is if this happened towards the end of the month, more people would have been out travelling to work or school and the problem greater. I cannot see the bridge helping at all - it just encourages traffic to already oversubscribed roads which are worse than the A1214. This is why Wherstead Road, Star Lane gyratory and Nacton Road are not official diversion routes.

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  3. martinc

    martincFounder Member

    I don't think it can help much. It must allow traffic to spread out more but overall its a shorter route than going around the A1214 and shorter routes take less vehicles so in same respect less capacity, and its going to have traffic lights and roundabouts. So what is the UOC for then? I drive around the south of the town centre east and west bound most days, its congested but it moves, and I don't see a lot of the traffic using Star Lane system as wanting to be that bit further south. You don't come down Wherstead Road to go to Nacton end of town, you would use current Orwell Bridge and vica versa, so most traffic using roads through town centre and coming in and out of town centre, why would they want to head out of town to use UOC then come back in ?

    However so far as I can recall the UOC was slated as an Orwell Bridge closure diversion route so if it does get built that's what I will expect it to be used for. So are they going to have to remove weight restrictions on some roads to make that work? How's that going to go down with people living along the route...!
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • OP

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

      Jordan had already came to the conclusion that the bridge won't really help north of the bridge.

      I agree the length of the A1214 helps stack up vehicles which cannot happen for shorter routes.

      They got the funding for supporting the TEN-T A14 (Orwell bridge pinch point) not for the unlocking the small (but significant sized) island site or helping inner-Ipswich traffic network...

      I think that despite getting this vanity bridge the official route will still be the current A1214 system... the A14 J56 and A14 J57 aren't suitable for such an increase in demand. Which makes the whole bridge rather pointless.

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